Saturday, October 29, 2005

mil·i·tant: adjective

1 : engaged in warfare or combat
2 : aggressively active (as in a cause)

Why am I one, do you ask...?

High school girls beheaded
because they're American lackeys not Muslims. New Delhi market bombed and 60 dead because they're American lackeys uh... not Muslims.

Second in a series. And believe me, I won't run out of material.
Recycling vs. Deposit

State had a good piece (I'm late to the game on this one, it's from last Monday...) on how the can/bottle deposit law is a bit out of date since the onset of curbside recycling.

I absolutely hate having to take cans and bottles to HiVee for redemption. The time. The smell. Yuck.

When we lived in Minnesota, we would crush our cans - which reduces the volume by a tremendous amount - and take them curbside.

And guess what...? The value of aluminum helps pay for the recycling program.

But hey... if you don't suffer for being "Green", what's the point?
"Interpreting" the Constitution

Saw this snippet from a legal opinion by Alex Kozinski on Instapundit. I'm responsible for the bolding:
Judges know very well how to read the Constitution broadly when they are sympathetic to the right being asserted. We have held, without much ado, that "speech, or... The press" also means the Internet, and that "persons, houses, papers, and effects" also means public telephone booths. When a particular right comports especially well with our notions of good social policy, we build magnificent legal edifices on elliptical constitutional phrases--or even the white spaces between lines of constitutional text. But, as the panel amply demonstrates, when we'?re none too keen on a particular constitutional guarantee, we can be equally ingenious in burying language that is incontrovertibly there.

It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as spring-boards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us.
As guardians of the Constitution, we must be consistent in interpreting its provisions. If we adopt a jurisprudence sympathetic to individual rights, we must give broad compass to all constitutional provisions that protect individuals from tyranny. If we take a more statist approach, we must give all such provisions narrow scope. Expanding some to gargantuan proportions while discarding others like a crumpled gum wrapper is not faithfully applying the Constitution; it's using our power as federal judges to constitutionalize our personal preferences. . . .

All too many of the other great tragedies of history - Stalin's atrocities, the killing fields of Cambodia, the Holocaust, to name but a few - were perpetrated by armed troops against unarmed populations. Many could well have been avoided or mitigated, had the perpetrators known their intended victims were equipped with a rifle and twenty bullets apiece, as the Militia Act required here. See Kleinfeld Dissent at 5997-99. If a few hundred Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto could hold off the Wehrmacht for almost a month with only a handful of weapons, six million Jews armed with rifles could not so easily have been herded into cattle cars. My excellent colleagues have forgotten these bitter lessons of history.
Wow. This man gets it.

Like the majority of America's Christians' attitude toward the Bible, many jurists treat the Constitution as a smorgasbord where they can eat what they like and ignore - nay, spit on - the rest. [Painful overextended metaphor alert]. In that wacky world, the 1st Amendment is the "hand-carved roast beef carved by the nice man in the white chef's hat at the end of the line" and the 2nd is the "liver and onions that has sat there for hours"[/alert].

This is what "legislating from the bench" is all about - building circles, within circles, within circles to arrive at the desired result. It's the lawyers version of The Harmony of the Spheres in which more and more elaborate structure must be employed to make the world - and more precisely the people in it - what you think they should be.

This is why there is no human activity (minus sexual... uh... "speech") that cannot be defined as "interstate commerce".

This is why in the 2nd Amendment to The Constitution of the United States - a clear and simple sentence that even I can understand -
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
- the words "the people" can mean "the state".

This is why in the takings clause of the 5th Amendment to The Constitution of the United States "public" really means "private".

This is why a woman's "right" to abortion is protected by an extended or imagined "right to privacy" that has been "discovered" in the 4th Amendment to The Constitution of the United States and recreational drug use is not.

And this is why the 9th and 10th Amendments to The Constitution of the United States today mean precisely... nothing.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Europe is More Civilized

Or just plain kee-razy.
ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- The city of Rome has banned goldfish bowls, which animal rights activists say are cruel, and has made regular dog-walks mandatory in the Italian capital, the town's council said on Tuesday.
I'd like to say that I'm shocked and appalled. But I'm just appalled.

H/T - Lileks.
When forks are outlawed...

Only outlaws will have forks. Anyone else see "gun control" as a slippery slope menace yet...?
Excuse me Rekha, is that drool on your chin?

Yeah, she can almost taste it. Rekha gives us Howard Dean's talking points in the guise of an OpEd piece written by the daughter of United Nations apparatchiks.

My favorite part:
He failed to respond decisively on first learning of the three most cataclysmic events to occur during his administration - Sept. 11, 2001; Dec. 26, 2004 (the Asian tsunami); and Aug. 29, 2005 (Hurricane Katrina). In the latter case, victims were locked in a Superdome with rotting bodies while the federal government forked out $236 million to Carnival Cruise Lines to take other refugees cruising.
First, I'd probably not put 9/11 in the same category as the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. There's a subtle but definite difference between natural disasters and an act of war.

Next, I can't believe your dragging out Bush's immediate reaction to learning of the 9/11 attacks. What was he supposed to do? Stop reading to those kids, grab one of his Secret Service agents' side arms, run out of that classroom and start shooting anyone who looked remotely Middle Eastern? Oh please.

And, as I recall, you objected to our going after the Taliban in Afghanistan. You were against the Patriot Act. Oh, I know... Bush should have handed the matter to the UN for... well whatever harsh language that they use for such matters.

As for the Tsunami, the American (as well as Australian) armed forces were the first responders to that disaster. They actually delivered water, food and shelter to the victims of that disaster while UN bigwigs were forming committees and dining at 21.

And Katrina, Katrina, Katrina. I'm surprised that you didn't bring up the 10,000 death figure and cannibalism at the Superdome.

Look, I've got huge problems with Bush and agree that he needs a lesson in admitting and taking responsibility for errors. But Rekha bases her criticisms of Bush on the presumption of perfidy - not only of Bush as President but of our country as global citizen. This presumption is based upon belief in Transnational Progressivism and that funny old sot of an uncle we keep in the attic - socialism.

Basu's point of view shouldn't surprise me at this point, but when her combination of vitriol and tired, discredited philosophy runs this rampant - I'm still taken aback.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Somber Reflection at Mystical Number

Here are some San Francisco protesters displaying their grief. Touching, ain't it.

Previously: Gonna Party like it's 1999 2000.
Here Comes a Pulitzer, Baby!

The Register
has hard hitting investigative reporting in its front page story today. Hold on to your hats people, this will be life changing. You ready? Most drivers ignore Iowa's 70 mph limit.
Over the past three months, 67 percent of motorists exceeded 70 mph and 25 percent of them drove faster than 75 mph, state records show. Four percent exceeded 80 mph. Overall, the average speed on Iowa's rural interstates has inched up nearly a half-mile per hour to 71.86 mph.
Holy crap! 71.86 mph!!!

And then there's this shocking revelation from "Sgt. Genie":
"The Iowa State Patrol is not happy because our goal is 100 percent compliance" with the speed limit, said Sgt. Genie Clemens , a patrol spokeswoman. "We are going to do the best we can with the people that we have in order to make people comply with the law."
Well, that just won't do Sgt. Genie. We citizens of the great state of Iowa deserve and demand 100 percent compliance. Until then, expect the intrepid investigative reporters of the Des Moines Register will be watching you... always watching.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

mil·i·tant: adjective

1 : engaged in warfare or combat
2 : aggressively active (as in a cause)

Well the first definition doesn't fit me. At least unless things get pretty damned desparate. The second... well, that fits pretty well.

Why am I a militant? Why do I feel we must make a stand right here? Right now?

Here's today's reason.
POLICE are being advised to treat Muslim domestic violence cases differently out of respect for Islamic traditions and habits.

Officers are also being urged to work with Muslim leaders, who will try to keep the families together.

Women's groups are concerned the politically correct policing could give comfort to wife bashers and keep their victims in a cycle of violence.
First in a series.
Rob and Rekha... gotta love 'em.

Rekha's uses Rosa Parks' death to stoke the fires of moral equavalence. You see, there's just as much injustice in the US today as there was in 1954 when Jim Crow ruled. And did I mention the war...? War bad. Bush bad. My columns pretty much all same.
Rights are like expiring coupons: Stash them in a drawer, don't use them and you risk losing them.
I think of "rights" more as a pair of socks. You did know that "the Man" through his government agents and lackeys steals one sock from each pair you own. Not aliens. Not the sock eating Dryer Monster. The MAN.

Meanwhile Rob offers us an elitist tribute to obnoxious rich Mercedes driving, chain smoking East Coast power maven. You know the trouble with Iowa...? There's too damned many Midwesterners here.
This town has a lot going for it - cheap parking, minor-league hockey -? but it's short on characters. It doesn't have enough of those in-your-face types who are obnoxious, talented, smart and funny.
Ah knock it off Rob. That's why you and Rekha are here. Fish, ponds and all that.

Oh, and there's the hard work enlighteningng us poor, ignorant Midwestern bumpkinns.

Poor Rob and Rekha - pearls before swains.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Gonna Party Like It's 1999 2000

Here it is, the latest "gleeful grim milestone" from the MSM in their fifth column action against Operation Iraqi Freedom. Look to see it on the front page of the DMR tomorrow.

However, some folks have their number.

The fact that the Iraqis just approved their constitution with a small fraction of the violence on election day compared to last January... that's NOT news. Nice round numbers and place value lessons for simpletons... now THAT's news.

Hey, hang on just a second... as a matter of fact, I seem to remember Bush - in the 2003 State of the Union Address - said that if we go into Iraq at 2,000 KIA, we have to strike out tents and bugout. Game over.

Just kidding...

Some useful perspective can be found here.

Update: Picked up the paper and there it was - "2,000th U.S. troop dies". Granted, it was at the very foot of the front page. Not only that, right above it was an AP report on Iraqi casualties - 30,000 so far. Sounds bad, no...? Only if you you're unaware of the casualty rate under Saddam.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The NRA is EVIL, EVIL I Tell You!!!

The Des Moines Register Editorial Board has a boilerplate editorial bemoaning the passage of the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act" (S. 397).
The gun industry has built its popularity on promoting the 2nd Amendment Â? Americans have a right to bear arms and protect themselves. But when it comes to protecting itself, the industry runs to Congress. Lawmakers, like victims of an armed robbery, give the industry everything it demands.
Okay, it's not just the "gun industry" that's promoting this law. It's citizens like yours truly who are concerned that the anti-gun lobby (I wonder if the REB considers anti-gun crusaders as "special interest groups"?) will use civil litigation to destroy the gun industry.
This legislation is an exercise in special-interest politics. No other industry enjoys the protection Congress wants to grant the gun industry.
Maybe that is because no other industry (at least yet...) has its existence threatened by "tort gone wild". Make no mistake about it, anti-gun groups are engaged in an incrementalist campaign to eliminate private ownership of firearms. These people believe that guns themselves are the problem. They really believe this and will do anything they can to achieve their goal.
The gun industry likely isn't responsible for the acts of individuals who use its products to commit crimes.
Then the REB should have not a problem with this legislation. Here is the "Purposes" section of the act in full:
(1) To prohibit causes of action against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms or ammunition products, and their trade associations, for the harm solely caused by the criminal or unlawful misuse of firearm products or ammunition products by others when the product functioned as designed and intended.

(2) To preserve a citizen's access to a supply of firearms and ammunition for all lawful purposes, including hunting, self-defense, collecting, and competitive or recreational shooting.

(3) To guarantee a citizen's rights, privileges, and immunities, as applied to the States, under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, pursuant to section 5 of that Amendment.

(4) To prevent the use of such lawsuits to impose unreasonable burdens on interstate and foreign commerce.

(5) To protect the right, under the First Amendment to the Constitution, of manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms or ammunition products, and trade associations, to speak freely, to assemble peaceably, and to petition the Government for a redress of their grievances.

(6) To preserve and protect the Separation of Powers doctrine and important principles of federalism, State sovereignty and comity between sister States.

(7) To exercise congressional power under art. IV, section 1 (the Full Faith and Credit Clause) of the United States Constitution. .

There is nothing in this legislation that prevents a civil suit being filed when there is evidence that a manufacturer or dealer sells firearms to groups or individuals that they have reason to believe are up to no good.
Then again, there may be some cases where gun manufacturers or dealers are negligent. Again, it's up to a court to decide.
I agree. And so do the Congresscritters that voted for the Act. If the REB had actually read the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, they would know that it lists all of the conditions where a civil suit can be brought against gun manufacturers and dealers. Don't believe me? Well, read it yourself:
(A) IN GENERAL- The term `qualified civil liability action' means a civil action or proceeding or an administrative proceeding brought by any person against a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product, or a trade association, for damages, punitive damages, injunctive or declaratory relief, abatement, restitution, fines, or penalties, or other relief' resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a qualified product by the person or a third party, but shall not include--
(i) an action brought against a transferor convicted under section 924(h) of title 18, United States Code, or a comparable or identical State felony law, by a party directly harmed by the conduct of which the transferee is so convicted;

(ii) an action brought against a seller for negligent entrustment or negligence per se;

(iii) an action in which a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product knowingly violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product, and the violation was a proximate cause of the harm for which relief is sought, including--

(I) any case in which the manufacturer or seller knowingly made any false entry in, or failed to make appropriate entry in, any record required to be kept under Federal or State law with respect to the qualified product, or aided, abetted, or conspired with any person in making any false or fictitious oral or written statement with respect to any fact material to the lawfulness of the sale or other disposition of a qualified product; or

(II) any case in which the manufacturer or seller aided, abetted, or conspired with any other person to sell or otherwise dispose of a qualified product, knowing, or having reasonable cause to believe, that the actual buyer of the qualified product was prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm or ammunition under subsection (g) or (n) of section 922 of title 18, United States Code;

(iv) an action for breach of contract or warranty in connection with the purchase of the product;

(v) an action for death, physical injuries or property damage resulting directly from a defect in design or manufacture of the product, when used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner, except that where the discharge of the product was caused by a volitional act that constituted a criminal offense then such act shall be considered the sole proximate cause of any resulting death, personal injuries or property damage; or

(vi) and action or proceeding commenced by the Attorney General to enforce the provisions of chapter 44 of title 18 or chapter 53 of title 26, United States Code.
Maybe I'm a simpleton, but it seems to me that these exceptions cover the gamut of potential malfeasance on the part of gun manufacturers and dealers.

So we're left with two equally unsavory possibilities to account for the cluelessness of the piece. 1 - The REB never actually read the Act. 2 - The REB did read the act, but intentionally... well... let's say "misrepresented" it to their readers.

But that's just crazy talk. The professional journalists at The Des Moines Register would never, never compromise their professional integrity to promote their agenda.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Stick a fork in her...

Miers is done. George Will has a blistering piece that gets to the heart of the hypocrisy on both sides and highlights the attendant risks. First, the Dems:
And Democrats, with their zest for gender politics, need this reminder: To give a woman a seat on a crowded bus because she is a woman is gallantry. To give a woman a seat on the Supreme Court because she is a woman is a dereliction of senatorial duty. It also is an affront to mature feminism, which may bridle at gallantry but should recoil from condescension.
Next, the Republicans:
As for Republicans, any who vote for Miers will thereafter be ineligible to argue that it is important to elect Republicans because they are conscientious conservers of the judicial branch's invaluable dignity. Finally, any Republican senator who supinely acquiesces in President Bush's reckless abuse of presidential discretion -- or who does not recognize the Miers nomination as such -- can never be considered presidential material.
Oh man.

Finally, he cuts to the bone on what's wrong about this nomination and - much, much more importantly - what's wrong with system. We have legislators who refuse to make law that doesn't feed their constituents' pocketbooks or challenges their comfort. We have judges that fill the legislative vacuum - legislating from the bench - instead of refusing bail out Congress and demanding that legislators, well... legislate.
In their unseemly eagerness to assure Miers's conservative detractors that she will reach the "right" results, her advocates betray complete incomprehension of this: Thoughtful conservatives' highest aim is not to achieve this or that particular outcome concerning this or that controversy. Rather, their aim for the Supreme Court is to replace semi-legislative reasoning with genuine constitutional reasoning about the Constitution's meaning as derived from close consideration of its text and structure. Such conservatives understand that how you get to a result is as important as the result. Indeed, in an important sense, the path that the Supreme Court takes to the result often is the result. [Emphasis Mine]
Right on brother Will!

And, by the way - to make it official (however irrelevant to the world at large), I oppose the Miers nomination.